- May 16, 2015 at 11:57 pm #5234
Hey everyone, this is my first post on the forum.
Today I was at an antique store and bought a Hohner bass melodica for $44. I’m not really knowledgeable about melodicas (despite playing my green Hohner soprano for awhile now) so I was just looking for some general info on this melodica (playing tips, general care, history, etc), seeing as it apparently isn’t made anymore, and info on these is hard to find. I’m loving the sound on it though, all the reeds work perfectly. It was very well cared for, and came with the Hohner case and the box it was shipped here in.
Anything you guys could tell me would be greatly appreciated!May 17, 2015 at 4:58 am #5235
Hi, Nick. The Hohner Bass Melodica was introduced in the 1960s and is unique among melodicas in that both righthanded and lefthanded versions of the Hohner were introduced. In 1972, Suzuki introduced its B-24 bass Melodion, which seems obviously to have been inspired by the Hohner. The Suzuki B-24 is still sold and has a rubber bladder that expands and contracts during playing and thus has delay at the lower end. It is demanding in terms of air blown into it and is difficult to play, not a melodica for the faint of breath. I have one. It has a great sound but is really beyond my playing capabilities. All this info is available in past discussions here, but I thought I’d summarize it for you. Among member videos there is one of Pianonymous with her group that includes an impressive player of the Hammond Bass Melodion BB-24 (same kind of rubber bladder), which is a recent iteration of the Suzuki. It is also effectively played in Melodica-Me’s group, Monsters of Melodica. I don’t know if the Hohner has a rubber bladder, but I’d be surprised if it doesn’t also have delay in the responsiveness of the bottom end notes, and any leakage will make it even more of a challenge to play.May 17, 2015 at 3:21 pm #5244
Thanks for the info! Mine appears to be the right handed version. I’m not sure about the rubber bladder. The high notes definitely speak quicker than the low, but it isn’t bad enough to hinder performance. I wouldn’t even call it a second delay. The lower notes do need more air.
So what steps do I need to take to keep it in good condition? My Hohner soprano has a hole for the moisture to come out of, is it the same with this model? Also, when it needs repair or the reeds start to not speak as clearly, where would I send the instrument?May 17, 2015 at 4:49 pm #5245
Hello Nick, the Hohner Basso does have a bladder and unfortunately is the weakest part of this melodica. If air starts to leak you will probably see small pin holes. This melodica being old as it is will eventually loose the bladder. I have not been able to find a replacement but I am still looking. As long as you do not blow to hard on the high registers you should not have any issues with replacing any reeds, they are pretty stout. The way to check if you have a leak is to blow and do not press any keys and see if the air leaks out. The white screw cap at the opposite side of the mouth piece is your moisture release. Unscrew and blow and the moisture will come out. Replace cap and you are good to go.
Monsters of MelodicaMay 17, 2015 at 5:08 pm #5247
I’m wondering, Melodica-Me, whether there’s anything the rubber bladder might be treated with to extend its life?May 17, 2015 at 5:57 pm #5251
The previous owner of this Melodica put a cork where the white screw is supposed to go. They included the white screws, however.
Could Hohner themselves be contacted for a replacement bladder? Or maybe makers of other bass melodicas like Suzuki or Hammond would be willing to part with a bladder for a price?May 17, 2015 at 6:50 pm #5252
All three (3) bass melodicas have have somewhat different bladders so they will not fit each other. I contacted Hohner and they told me they do not have the bladders. Even my Suzuki bass melodica is staring to leak. I have to see if Suzuki has these available as well as the Hammond since they are madeyvthe same manufacture. Manley there is a material that can be used. More research bis needed. I need to get our resident researcher Alan on the cases:)
Melodica-MeMay 17, 2015 at 7:33 pm #5254
I wouldn’t trust me on this one, but the first thing that comes to mind is a silicone treatment of some kind. I think once the rubber starts to crumble it’s too late, but silicone is supposed to soften and help preserve rubber by replacing the “plasticizers.” I have the first of these two products that I applied to gaskets on a couple of melodicas, but I think Melodica-Me subsequently advised against this. I haven’t seen ill effects of it, but it didn’t noticeably improve the gaskets.May 17, 2015 at 7:36 pm #5255
That’s a little discouraging, as I really enjoy the sound of this instrument, and I’d hate to make it obsolete. At least they still make bass melodicas, so a replacement could be bought if needed.May 17, 2015 at 9:48 pm #5256
It’s possible that your Hohner isn’t really leaking but feels as if it is because of the give of the slightly expanding bladder. When my Suzuki B-24 was new I thought it was leaking. It’s probably about time for me to get it out, re-examine it, and try playing it again. But, also, it’s probably an unreasonable expectation for most of us to think we can play it like a regular alto melodica.May 17, 2015 at 11:19 pm #5257
Sometime this week I will contact the shop that got my reeds for the Hammond melodion and see if they can get the bladders for their bass melodions. Sorry for the typos I hate posting on my phone.
Melodica-MeMay 18, 2015 at 12:32 am #5258
Nick, after thinking of the basso Melodicas, I wanted to make sure I was giving you accurate information, so I decided to open up all three of my basso to review. I first opened up the Hohner which has a bad bladder now (see picture basso on the left) look at the bolt pattern, I then opened my Suzuki (center red) notice the bolt pattern, looks similar but not the same a bit difference but I am wondering if we can make this one fit with a little tug here and there. I finally opened up the Hammond (right side) see how the bolt pattern is not the same as the previous to model. This is a little surprising as the Hammond is made by Suzuki as well? The Hammond bladder may be a better choice as we may be able to cut out the bolt pattern to fit the basso. I did notice that the Hammond bladder is made of a much better material in thickness. I will look into this more in the near future and post my findings.
Melodica-MeMay 18, 2015 at 1:44 am #5264
The bladder on my Suzuki B-24, which I bought a couple of years ago, looks exactly like the one on your Hammond, Melodica-Me, with the same oval washers. I’m guessing that yours is older, and that the current B-24 is close to the Hammond BB-24 and has the same bladder. The bladder in mine is marked in white with “23.9.26”.May 18, 2015 at 1:53 am #5265
Alan, can you take a picture and post. I was hoping the Suzuki bladder that I have was still available because it looks like it can almost work for the Hohner Basso. I am going to email the store in Japan to see if they can get the bladder for the Suzzuki I have if not I will get what is available and try to make it work.
Melodica-MeMay 18, 2015 at 1:16 pm #5272
There is one I posted earlier under General Melodica Discussion: Suzuki B-24 Bass Melodion.
Is it possible maybe to fashion a replacement out of, say, an automotive inner tube?
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